Often when I'm cooking or looking at recipes I am reminded of my mother. Mum was a passionate foodie and a brilliant cook. Quite an achievement, given her background.
My mother was born into a privileged household in Victoria and didn't ever learn to cook since there was household staff to undertake such menial tasks.
She learned the hard way in some dreadfully dingy kitchens over the years that my father was a stock agent for Elders. They lived in some appalling houses on the outskirts of towns in WA.
Mum was an avid recipe collector, she had masses of recipes from magazines and newspapers, but, unlike me, she actually tried every one of those recipes!
One of the things I most remember is how Mum would re-create a restaurant meal that she'd recently had. It's something I continue to do now, as a restaurant meal is a rare treat.
Often when I cook I think of my mum and how she has influenced my love of cooking and food.
Here's one of the recipes that she found in the Women's Weekly many years ago when they used to have little lift out recipe booklets. I usually start this one the night before I want to bake it:
Pineapple Fruit Cake
1 can crushed pineapple
350g mixed fruit
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp mixed spice
1/4 cup sherry
1 tsp bi-carb soda
Place all ingredients, including juice from can into a large saucepan. Bring to boil and simmer 3 minutes. Turn off heat and place lid on pan. Allow to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 165 degrees C and grease and line base and sides of a 30cm square cake tin.
Stir into cooled mixture:
2 beaten eggs
1 cup self raising flour
1 cup plain flour.
Decorate with blanched almonds and bake 1 1/4 hours.
You can add nuts if desired. This cake keeps very well.